Death Road Bike Tour

Posted by on Aug 25, 2011 in Bolivia | 0 comments

World's Deadliest Road

World's Deadliest Road

We added a new dimension to our blog and posted a survey where anyone could vote and chose our next activity. By a narrow margin, biking the word’s deadliest road won. Thank you everyone for voting!

There were many bike options offered from the different tour companies the main decision is front suspension or full suspension mountain bike. We opted for a front suspension bike, it was about half the price and lets be honest we were “mountain biking” on a road, we didn’t need a bike designed for hardcore mountain biking.

At the top of the death road

The tour bus dropped us off at the top of the death road 15,400 feet above sea level. The air was thin, each breath was a conscious decision as we put on all of our protective gear. Every biker was given knee and elbow pads, a helmet, gloves, reflective jacket, and a mountain bike. It was frigid at this altitude and we were anxious to get biking. The first 15 minutes were are on paved road, and it was all downhill. The views were magnificent and it was refreshing to feel the crisp air on our faces as we whizzed down the mountain at 30 mph.

Biking gives a whole new perspective on the countryside. Most of our travel has been in a bus, which doesn’t give the intimate exposure to the countryside that you get while on a bike. With every foot drop in altitude, the air became a bit thicker, and after 20 minutes we are no longer cold. The sun beat on our backs as the mountains arround us changed from barren deserts of the high altitude to jungles of the lower altitude region. My favorite area was the lower altitude where we saw waterfalls, birds, fruit and flower trees, and drove through streams. Now is the dry season so we avoided mudslides, rainstorms, and flooded rivers.

Vertical Drop

We stopped to check equipment and for a refresher in biking safety since we were approaching the more dangerous section of the road. The road was a mix of gravel and dirt, with large stone obstacles sprinkled like candy throughout the road forcing your undivided attention at all times.

I absolutely loved the bike ride, it took total concentration as I flew down the mountain, leaned into hairpin turns; to my right was the mountain an unforgiving solid chunk of rock and to my left was a 1,200 foot drop-off. No guard rails, no ditch, just immediate drop off. One second of distraction could mean a world of hurt. Adrenaline pumped through my body and my mind was clear. The only thing I thought about was the next turn, adjusting after the last bump, and avoiding the rock obstacles. Running into one ill-placed rock could mean a trip to the bottom of the gorge to my left, not somewhere I wanted to be. According to the tour agency, a Japanese girl feel off the cliff 3 weeks prior to our trip.

The road was bumpy: really, really bumpy. My arms felt like jelly after two hours of non-stop rocky road. We stopped a couple of times to take a look around us and for pictures.

The total ride was about 3 hours and we descended almost 12,000 feet in total over 40 miles of tortuous road. In 3 hours I pedaled the bike for a maximum of 2 minutes. Usually just to start again once stopped.

Half Way Down

We finished the tour at a restaurant with a pool and hammocks. We ate a well deserved meal and relaxed by the pool. No mosquitos only little gnats. The gnats are immune to bug spray and they don’t sting like a mosquito, they bite chunks of flesh from your body and then secrete some diabolical fluid that makes the bites itch for days. Ouch. We had been warned by a couple of travelers the days before so we were on the look out. Not everyone there was so fortunate.

paradise at the end

Our treacherous bike ride brought us into the tranquil, vacation town of Coroico. Coroico is a popular escape for people living in La Paz. It is a small town built on the side of a mountain. Which gives every house, hotel, and park bench a breathtaking view of the mountains, low hanging clouds, and the valley below.

View from our Cabin

View from our Cabin

We treated ourselves to one of the best places we’ve stayed to date; our own private bungalow hidden on the side of the mountain. Lighting bugs lite the way as we walked 15 minutes from the hotel registration office to our new home. We had everything we needed, a campfire places, hammocks, a cozy little bungalow with a wall of windows facing the valley, an outdoor shower, and peace and quiet. Here is an MTV Cribs style video for our place:

Fast Tube by Casper

We woke up the next morning to the sound of a pandemonium of parrots and this view.

View from our Cabin in Corioco

View from our Cabin in Corioco


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